SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s happened on the SU campus, in the Destiny USA parking lot and it happens a lot at corner stores. Cars are getting stolen.
And stealing a car in Central New York has become as easy as one-two-three. One, find an unlocked door. Two, find keys in the car and three, take off. And the culprits more often than not, are kids.
A kid crime wave that often doesn’t stop with the theft of the car. It is a gateway crime.
“A lot of these cars are involved in shots fired incident, sometimes a homicide, perhaps they’ve involved in a hit and run accident with other vehicles, drug sales. It’s not just a stolen vehicle,” said Syracuse Police Officer Kristie Froio.
“Due to their age, punishments aren’t as severe, so we’re seeing a lot of repetitive actions, they feel they can get away with it. That may be the sentiment with younger members of the community,” said Syracuse Police Sgt. Malinowski.
So now police are ready to turn the tables on auto theft by launching a new initiative. First comes a warning, then comes a ticket.
Malinowski said, “We’re starting with public awareness, letting everyone know how important this is to public safety. So we think that at least if people have to pay a fine, they keep doing it, potentially facing jail time, they will take steps to secure their vehicles.”
Sending a clear message to drivers: Don’t leave your keys for thieves.
A ticket for leaving your car running can cost you $150.
Below is a look at vehicle theft by metropolitan statistical area (MSA). This is a per capita analysis based on the number of vehicle thefts in a given MSA per 100,000 in population. That calculation delivers a theft rate number and Hot Spots ranks each MSA by that theft rate figure. The lower the Hot Spots ranking, the higher the theft rate.
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